Earlier in the calendar year, here in this column, we talked about belonging as the gateway to a life of faith as an individual, as a family, and as a believing community. While we are prone to think the people of faith are the ones who belong, in fact, it is people who find an abiding sense of belonging to a worshipping community that become people of faith. In fact, that sense of belonging imbues and precedes almost every aspect of community life: faith, worship, stewardship, volunteering, and so much more. In the weeks since our celebration of the Mass of Belonging, consider the way in which people continue to talk about their experience of the Mass. Part of that conversation has been the experience of seeing so many people under one roof, so many voices raised in praise to God, and knowing this is family. Belonging.
What now? What will you do with this experience?
I believe we are called to live out the deepest meaning of belonging: “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) Now we are called to be intentional about our next steps.
In the September 20th bulletin (online here), we provided some simple steps in the process of discernment, a way in which to help each of us to be intentional about the way we will serve God in whatever we do. That’s a good place to start. And the first step is prayer, listening to God in order to discern the breadth of talents and abilities needed to build and be the Kingdom of God in our time and place. Praying for God’s guidance helps you to see more clearly your gifts, talents, interests, and the, “Hey, I might like to try that,” opportunities available.
For our part, we are making the opportunities more visible. Every weekend, from the Mass of Belonging until the start of November, will be marked by an opportunity to live out the deep meaning of belonging by volunteering, joining, supporting, or in some way connecting with your fellow parishioners. Last weekend, 34 parishioners expressed interest in being part of the ministries of Liturgy & Music. This weekend, it is the ministries of Franciscan Care that will be front and center, asking for your time and talent. In the weeks to come, our Groups (Women’s Council, Book Club, etc.) and Hospitality Ministry will offer opportunities for your consideration.
We are asking people to discern where God is calling them to serve Him: “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” The weekend of November 7 th and 8 th , we will again try something new. At every Mass, we will ask for commitment. And not just to parish ministry, but “whatever you do.” Some of you are committed to being a coach for your child’s basketball or soccer team, leading a troop of Girl Scout Brownies or Cub Scouts, or serving at a local charity. How will you, in word and deed, intentionally
give glory to God in all these things? The same question applies when considering your service as a Lector at Mass, feeding the homeless, or coming to Bible Study. It is the question we should all ask ourselves at the start of each day.
On the weekend of November 7th and 8th , we will ask you to come forward, as an individual or as a household, to make your commitment as a visible sign of belonging to this community and to receive a blessing for whatever you do…in the name of the Lord Jesus.